Georgetown : The mandate of the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Fallen Heroes Foundation is to bring relief to the families of officers killed in the line of duty. Director of the foundation, Rev. Winston Assanah explained that the Non-Governmental organisation caters specifically to the welfare of these families.
On February 9, Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud DSM, along with the board of directors of the foundation handed over approximately $900,000 in financial aid to nine families of slain officers with twenty dependent children.
These funds are to assist with necessities which may be needed for the children to attend school regularly. “We take care of the educational and welfare needs of children within the academic age of development and we also give them a Christmas bonus, something everybody looks forward to.” Rev. Assanah explained.
According to the secretary, the money caters for school uniforms, payment of school fees, transportation, textbooks and School-Based Assignments among other items.
The contributions to the families would continue “until the age of 18 but if the child is not working but is still engaged in academic development we are still lenient to provide some form of support,” Rev. Assanah added.
The GPF’s Fallen Heroes Foundation was officially founded on October 28, 2015, after Commissioner Persaud attended the funeral of one of the slain officers and realised that the family would be financially constrained, particularly in view of the fact that the officer left behind school-aged children.
“How will the family make out was the thought of the commissioner,” Assanah noted. Therefore the ‘top cop’ identified religious leaders from the Georgetown Ministers Fellowship (GMF) to spearhead this foundation.
“It is his (the commissioner’s) brainchild and he is the one that handpicked these individuals to sit as members of this board. Because in his word he felt there is a need for prudent management and trust and he has worked with these persons and is impressed with the work these persons are doing within the force,” Assanah added.
This board is tasked with specific guidelines as to how the family members of policemen and women, killed in the line of duty should be assisted. Funds are raised for disbursement through donations and contributions from several concerned citizens and businesses including the Head of State.
Additionally, a small monthly contribution from each serving member of the GPF stands part of the total amount of finances raised by the foundation. Assanah said that to date, the foundation’s accounts for 2015 and 2016 have been audited while that for 2017 is currently under review.
The family of Sherwin Pantlitz was among the families who received donations from the foundation. Pantlitz was killed in 2013 while exchanging gunfire with businessman Deryk Kanhai in a three-hour shoot-out where Kahnai reportedly went ‘Berserk’.